The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

The Pastor’s Pen Last Entry (for a while)

Posted by Pastor Szekely on June 25, 2009

As you may have noticed, I haven’t blogged on The Pastor’s Pen for almost a year…and that was by choice.

To make a long story short, it consumed me…I thought I had to post every other day to keep my readership; I was compelled to answer back every reply; I spent much time searching for “just the right picture”…some may know what I’m talking about.

Well, I thought you ought to know this since I still hear from many who read and post comments – many of which are truly an encouragement. I am keeping this blog active and open, and one day I may come back to it and add more content. I still like to blog…and that leads me to this:

I’ve just launched an intentionally “scaled-down” blog for our church – Lighthouse Baptist Church – that I’ll be blogging on for a while. I’m taking a different approach and attitude with this one as I try to recapture a love of mine while not having it become an obsession.

I want to thank every one of you – whether you agree with the content of this blog or not – who visit and read The Pastor’s Pen. Your encouragement, fellowship, and “iron-sharpening” have been truly beneficial for my growth and walk as a believer in THE MIGHTY GOD, THE PRINCE OF PEACE, my LORD AND SAVIOR – JESUS CHRIST.

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | 7 Comments »

Ear and Eye Choices

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 28, 2008

Can we LISTEN to and WATCH anything we want…AND if we can: How does this affect our lives?

YES – we “can” listen to or watch what we “want”. Even as a child of God, we still have the ability to make choices. Paul had that ability…and as a Christian, some of Paul’s choices weren’t very good ones! He tells us in Rom 7:15, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

When we say we can listen to or watch “anything we want“, that speaks of and sounds like it’s all up to us, that God has given no direction in these matters, and that we are “our own”…and some others might say rebellion.

SO: How can we answer the question, “Can we listen to and watch anything we want“? To find the answer, let’s look at it in THREE WAYS: 

I. WHAT IS OUR ATTITUDE?

What’s your attitude on what you bring into the “eye-gate” and the “ear-gate”? What we view and what we hear can be broken down into 2 categories: Things of God, which are ALWAYS GOOD, and Things of the World, which are NOT ALWAYS BAD. Yes, you’re “reading it right“! You’ve just read that an Independent Baptist preacher said there are things of this world that are not always bad! For example: Do guns kill people? NO – People kill people! SO THEN: What does a television do to people? NOTHING! [Now just follow along with me] TVs, computers, radios, monitors – they’re all inanimate objects! These all LACK the QUALITIES of a living thing!

When we come home, our TV doesn’t automatically turn on, it doesn’t ask me how my day went, nor it doesn’t even take out the dogs or trash (YET!!!)…because it’s inanimate! AH…BUT the question is: What is our ATTITUDE toward these inanimate objects?

We will say that the TV is brainwashing us and our kids. We will say that the internet is just as bad, if not worse than, Hollywood. We will call these THINGS “time-wasters“…and they are…IF YOU LET THEM BE! These things will corrupt you and your children…IF YOU LET THEM! Please, let’s stop displacing the blame! Is it the TV’s fault or the internet’s fault for corruption in your home? Don’t they come with an OFF button? Who’s in control here? You’re allowing these inanimate objects to control you when you have the ability to make godly choices!

II. WHAT IS THE AFFECT?

What’s the affect of what we listen to and watch? What’s the affect of what comes through the eye and ear gates? There must be a profound and lasting affect on us, because Paul said in 1 Cor 6:12, “…all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any“. Paul’s saying that he could become a SLAVE unto what would come through his eye and ear gates!

Now here’s something that needs to be asked: “Will what I see and listen to make me it’s SLAVE?” Something that has an AFFECT on us will battle for our AFFECTION! How can we become a slave to inanimate objects and the things we hear and see? When we lose our control

We become enslaved when we’re brought under the power and influence of something else! Here’s a great exercise to determine if we’re under the influence of what we watch or listen to…can you say, “Thank you, Lord, for what I’m watching or for what I’m listening to…and I give you the glory for it“.

III. WHAT KIND OF ATTACHMENT IS THERE?

Do you agree we develop an attachment to things that affect us? We do, and I would say that it does matter what affects us because there’s a great chance of attachment to them.

What do you like to watch and what do you like to listen to? What’s your attitude with it? What affect do those things have on you? What kind of attachment is there?

HONESTLY ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS AND YOU’LL KNOW WHAT KIND OF EAR AND EYE CHOICE YOU’RE MAKING!

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ESV Popularity

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 23, 2008

Have you noticed how the English Standard Version of the Bible [ESV] is being pushed and promoted? If you haven’t noticed, just watch:

 

Wow…I don’t know very much at all about her, but I see that Joni’s pretty excited about the ESV. She touts the “reliability” of the version AND also all the “Bible scholars and teachers” who’ve done such a great job…no wait, she said, “outstanding job“. Then she says if YOU want to understand God’s Word in a more deeper, profound, and principled way…THIS is THE BIBLE that will be your resource…what? We couldn’t know God’s Word in a deep, profound, and principled way BEFORE the ESV??? So Joni…is the ESV the ONLY VERSION you’ll hold to? Is she saying the ESV IS the WORD of GOD for the English-speaking people?

And then there’s John Piper. He says the ESV combines a kind of balance between accuracy, faithfulness, readibility, and dignity in an unusually good proportion. To John – “It’s a dream come true!” What were you believing, reading, and studying from before, John? Something that was insufficient…not as good…is that what John’s admitting?

I’M SORRY, BUT I’M NOT BUYING INTO THE HYPE!

It was the Evangelicals that tried to have us buy into the hype of the NASB and the NIV, oh but now, this ESV is “a dream come true”! How inconsistent!

This English Standard Version of the Bible is being proclaimed as the “best word-for-word translation” and the “best KJV substitute for reading from the pulpit.”¹ Isn’t THAT interesting…

The ESV popularity is being built upon comparing it with the Authorized Version, or KJV! Here’s more testimony to this: “The ESV could substitute almost transparently for the KJV when reading to the public, while the ESV also has the benefit of omitting KJV words, phrases, and even entire verses that clearly were not part of the original texts, as best represented in the United Bible Society’s (UBS) Hebrew and Greek texts.”²

I’ve got a real problem with this…why, you ask? Well, the ESV can’t take the place of the KJV since they haven’t even been translated from the same texts! That’s pretty simple. I believe the translators of the ESV when they say that their version is a “word-for-word translation” – they used the formal equivalence approach of translation just like the translators of the Authorized Version (KJV). BUT, they translated their New Testament from the codex Siniaticus [Aleph] and the codex Vaticanus [B]. The New Testament of the Authorized Version was translated from the Textus Receptus [TR].

Now you may or may not know much about the Greek texts, but just by this knowledge we know that the ESV, that’s supposed to be the best KJV substitute, was not even translated from the same text as the KJV! In fact, the ESV has been translated from the same sources as the NIV, NASB, and all the translations from the Westcott-Hort texts. The BIG difference between the ESV and these other Westcott-Hort texts – formal equivalence. Most of the others, and especially the newer versions, were translated through the dynamic equivalence method.

Don’t buy into the hype! The ESV is NOT a substitute for the KJV…it’s not a “newer version” of the KJV…it’s not even translated from the same text as the KJV! The popularity of the ESV is being proclaimed by comparing it with the KJV since the KJV is also a literal “word-for-word” translation. Remember, the texts from which they’ve come are totally different…

PASS ON THE HYPE AND STICK WITH THE TRUTH!

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Revival

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 19, 2008

WHAT IS IT? DO WE NEED IT? HOW CAN WE GET IT?

How would YOU answer these questions? I think before we can understand what revival IS, we must understand what revival IS NOT. Revival is not a series of evangelistic meetings. Revival is not an emotional experience that’s soon forgotten. Revival is not a popular fad or wave of change that comes and goes. None of this is revival. So what is it?

Revival defined by Webster is a restoration from a depressed, inactive, or unused state; the restoring of force or validity. With me personally, I’d like to think of revival as a rekindling of God’s fire in my heart. I’d like to think that when my heart doesn’t burn brightly for God as it once did and I catch myself just going through the motions and viewing my service more as duty than dedication and devotion, then I am primed for a personal revival. This is how I know I need revival. And to be honest with you, my reader, as I write this, I humbly confess that I need a personal revival…how about you? If you don’t, please pray for me; and if you are in need of a personal revival, let me know and I promise to pray for you.

How can we get revival? It can only come from God, and I believe God will only give us a true revival when we are truly determined to get it from God! 2 Chron 7:14, a very familiar but [I believe] applicable verse for our answer of “how can we get it“, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Did you notice God said, “IF…THEN”. God is a God of conditions. God WILL hear from Heaven, God WILL forgive sin, and God WILL heal the land IF God’s people humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wickedness. God will take you and me from a depressed, inactive and “just going through the motions” state and restore us – revive us – IF we would humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. How bad do YOU want revival?

How do you know you’ve had revival from the Lord? Let me just briefly touch on 3 ways:

#1: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW ATTITUDE

You’re “I” problem must go away. You need to have J.O.Y. again – that’s Jesus, Others, and then You. You must see the lost just like the Lord Jesus sees them – with compassion and as sheep having no shepherd…hopeless without God.

#2: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW ENTHUSIASM

You won’t “have to” read your Bible and pray…You’ll “want to” read your Bible and pray. You may just start singing those old hymns…in the shower! You’ll look forward to telling others of the Saviour. You just may add “AMEN” and “HALLELUJAH” to your vocabulary…and rejoicing will become a must!

#3: WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW DETERMINATION

How determined are you to serve God? How determined are you to find out and follow what God says? How determined are you to be determined to do right?

IS REVIVAL NEEDED AMONG THE CHILDREN OF GOD? Many today who claim the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ have become complacent, volatile, inflammatory, lethargic, self-righteous, apathetic, self-centered, and accusatory. Many have become outright sinful and couldn’t care less about it!  Nuff said.

Ps 85:6, “Wilt thou [LORD] not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

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The MOTIVE of Giving

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 18, 2008

Through this study on the CONSIDERATIONS ON GIVING, we’ve looked at:

 

–The MATTER of our giving…It’s not an economic matter ~ it’s a heart matter! The WAY people gave mattered to the Lord – Mark 12:41, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.”

 

–The MEASURE of our giving…WHAT people gave also mattered to the Lord – Mark 12:42-44, “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. [vs43] And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: [vs44] For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

 

In this final post on giving, I want us to think on the MOTIVE of our Giving.

 

Remember what was said about the Temple Treasury in the post, the MEASURE of Giving…“many that were rich” were casting in much and great noise echoed from those “Trumpet” chests. This outward show must have stirred the ones around! The crowd must have “oohed and ahhed” as the giving was going on.

 

BUT: what do you think happened when that poor widow woman threw in her two mites [2 mites = about one-fifth of a cent; to man, it was hardly worth it to give]? Can you imagine a silence? Was there a feeling of pity for the woman? Were there any praises from man? There may not have been any praises from man, but this woman had the praise of God! Read again Mark 12:43-44.

 

This woman’s HEART was in her gift unto God. Her motive for giving stemmed from her heart! Shouldn’t OUR MOTIVE for giving stem from the same? What should motivate a child of God to give from the treasure that God has blessed them with (as stewards)? Or basically…how should we give?

 

A.  THANKFULLY

 

The Motive of Thankfulness. This motive says that “we are so thankful to give unto God because God gave it all for us and to us.” Can you list 10 things that would cause a child of God to have a thankful heart before God and motivate him to give? As a Christian, you should AT LEAST be able to list 10 things from God that gives you a thankful heart. Remember them, and the next time you give to God of the treasure He has given you, you WILL BE motivated by thankfulness!

 

B.  CHEERFULLY

 

The Motive of Cheerfulness. This motive says that “our spirit and attitude of giving is good, pleasant, and even joyful because we know the Recipient of our giving.”

 

–We know how God accepts our giving. In 2 Cor 9:7 the Bible says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver”. God loves it when we give cheerfully, and this motive is acceptable before Him!

 

I like this – the word cheerful in 2 Cor 9:7 means merry or hilarious. What are you like during offering time at your church? God loves a merry, HILARIOUS giver…one who expresses true happiness about giving unto the Lord!

 

–We know how He uses our giving. We ought to come to God with a cheerful heart in giving because He takes what we bring unto Him and multiplies it for the work of His Kingdom!

 

–We know how He is honored by our giving! Heb 13:15-16 says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. [vs16] But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” We ought to come to God with a cheerful heart in giving because we have the opportunity to honor, bless, and please God Almighty!

 

C.  LIBERALLY

 

The only time I want to be known as a liberal is in my giving🙂

 

The Motive of Liberal Giving. This motive says that “we want to give back generously and bountifully (i.e. liberally) because we’ve experienced God’s generous Hand and bounty in our lives”. Can you give specific examples of God’s generous Hand and bounty in your life?

 

And let me ask you this: Can we ever “out-give” God? Not by what these verses tell us:

 

Mal 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

 

Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

 

 2 Cor 9:6, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”

 

Just a thought: How many people do you know who went penniless and starved to death because of they gave to God? How many people can you name that “out-gave” God? BUT: How many people can you name that have a testimony of a lack of God’s provision because they failed to put into practice Biblical giving?

 

Ps 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread”.

 

D.  SACRIFICIALLY

 

The Motive of Sacrificial Giving. This motive says that “we deprive ourselves for an express need that God has laid on our hearts.” Here are some examples of sacrificial giving: Mark 12:44 [see above] / Acts 4:32-37.

 

When it comes to the giving of our treasure, our method of giving is doctrinal and our motivation for giving is love! A love for God is a heart for God…and that’s a heart of: thankfulness, cheerfulness, liberality, and sacrifice. These motives can ONLY be manifested and plentiful if there’s a heart for God!

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The MEASURE of Giving

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 16, 2008

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Mark 12:41-44

 

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself cared about HOW people were giving their treasure [vs41]…but also, The Lord Jesus cared about WHAT was being given [vs42-44]. 

 

DID YOU KNOW that the Temple Treasury consisted of 13 brass chests, or boxes, to cast in offerings. These chests were called “Trumpets” due to them being shaped like a trumpet, or the “bell” of the trumpet. As metal coins were cast into the “Trumpets” a loud noise would be heard by those around the Temple Treasury…the more someone gave, the louder the noise!

 

If someone wanted to “put on a show”, it wouldn’t be too difficult. IN FACT, the Lord Jesus rebuked the ones who did put on a show in this way…Jesus said in Matt 6:1-2, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. [vs2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

 

When this poor, widow woman “threw in two mites” [Mark 12:42], they sounded “mighty small” in comparison to the other offerings being made. HOWEVER: What kind of sound did it make in the Lord’s ears? Mark 12:43-44 again says, “…Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” From what we read here, we can definitely figure out how man would measure her giving verses how the Lord did measure her giving!

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

A.  We are to give PROPORTIONALLY

 

In the measure of the giving of what God has given to us, we can give the same amount “proportionally”. For example: One person’s income is $2,000/month and another person’s income is $9,000/month. If Biblical, proportionate giving is practiced, BOTH would give the same amount proportionally! Both would “bring back a tenth part to God’s storehouse”!

 

BTW: What proportion, or what percentage, did the poor, widow women give in Mark 12? She gave 100% of all her living!!! Jesus said in Mark 12:43, “That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury”!

 

Notice, too, that the Apostle Paul endorsed proportional (or proportionate) giving: 1 Cor 16:2, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” What Paul was saying here is: “When you bring all the tithes and offerings into God’s storehouse, give in proportion to your income or to your increase”…as God hath prospered you!

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

B.  We are to give PROPERLY

 

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” From this verse and 1 Corinthians 16:2, we can clearly see that God has appointed a “proper place” to bring the tithes and offerings. That proper place is His New Testament Institution and Storehouse, the Church.

 

HOW IS OUR GIVING TO BE MEASURED? HOW ARE WE TO GIVE?

 

C. We are to give PERPETUALLY

 

God has designed our giving to be systematic. Giving ought to be a regular part of our livesProverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Every time we have increase, we need to honor God with the “firstfruits” of that increase.

 

We’ve already looked at 1 Cor 16:2 more than once: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” When did Paul instruct the church at Corinth to “lay by him in store as God hath prospered him”? …upon the first day of the week, or the Lord’s Day!

 

Sadly today, many only give when they have “left-overs” or when moved by conviction or guilt, but this is not God’s plan and this isn’t how God measures our giving. Many miss the blessings of God in their MEASURE of giving.

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The MATTER of Giving – Part 2

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 14, 2008

Let me ask you this: From where should our giving stem?

FILL IN THE BLANK: “Your giving will start with your ___________”

The answer is your heart. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor 8:5 that the churches of Macedonia – churches with very little – took on the fellowship of the ministering to the saints, i.e. they took part in giving to other churches in need. “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”

“…but first gave their own selves to the Lord…” That’s a heart-issue and not an economic one! SO: I believe it’s fair to say that your giving is a good indicator of your heart’s spiritual condition.

SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED OR CARE ABOUT YOUR GIVING, OR THE LACK THEREOF?

Mark 12:41-44, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. [vs42] And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. [vs43] And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: [vs44] For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself cared about WHAT was being given [vs42-44]…BUT ALSO, the Lord Jesus cared about HOW people were giving their treasure [vs41]! It’s evident from this text that the Lord cares about HOW we give.

Q) Do YOU think the Lord Jesus observes YOUR GIVING? Do you think He CARES about your giving? And why would He care? It is because giving is a matter of the HEART! Again, your giving IS a good indicator of your heart’s spiritual condition.

IF THE LORD JESUS CARES ABOUT OUR GIVING, THEN WHAT IS GIVING? HOW IS THE GIVING OF OUR TREASURE ACTUALLY DEFINED?

Simply stated, the giving of our treasure that stems from our heart is defined in TITHES and OFFERINGS.

WHAT IS A TITHE? Well, the Bible defines this word for us when we compare the following Scripture texts:

Gen 14:18-20, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. [vs19] And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: [vs20] And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”

Heb 7:1-2a, “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; [vs2a] To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all

From comparing these verses we see that the tithe is a tenth part…and a tenth part of all…of your whole increase. So if you’re increased with $1,000 you’re tithe is a tenth part, or $100.

Oh“, but you might say, “tithing is Old Testament and not for today“…but that is a WRONG STATEMENT. Tithing is throughout the Bible! I got the following illustration from “The ABCs of Christian Growth“, Bible Baptist Church Publications, Pastor Robert J. Sargent. This is a list that shows tithing throughout the Word of God:

Abraham COMMENCED it – Gen 14:18-20

Jacob CONTINUED it – Gen 28:20-22

Moses CONFIRMED it – Lev 27:30

Malachi COMMANDED it – Mal 3:8-10

Jesus COMMENDED it – Matt 23:23

God COMMISSIONED it – 1 Cor 9:13-14

Paul CONFORMED it – 1 Cor 16:2

 

Tithing IS a SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLE! Abraham and Jacob tithed 500 years before the Law was instituted; Moses, Malachi, and the Lord Jesus spoke of tithing during the period of the Law; and Paul explained tithing after the Law in the New Testament. So should a Christian tithe? YES. Is tithing optional? NO. BTW: Too often, we get hung up on the tithe and forget that every penny we have is the Lord’s. All of our treasure, not just the tithe, is to be used as God leads and directs us. As stewards, it isn’t 10% that belongs to God, it is 100%!

 

WHAT IS AN OFFERING? An offering is something that is presented for acceptance; oblation; sacrifice; can also mean a treat or gift. To get an understanding of an offering, read these verses from the Book of Ezra:

 

1:4, “And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

3:5, “And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.”

7:16, “And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem

8:28, “And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers.”

What we get from these verses is the offering was a freewill gift given for the LORD’S acceptance. The offering IS DIFFERENT FROM the tithe. The tithe is a required amounta tenth part – given obediently. The offering is an unspecified amount given devotedly.

We ought to be concerned about this matter of our giving…God is. Our giving is a matter of the heart. The giving of our treasure consists of tithes and offerings, and God has ordained those tithes and offerings to be used to finance His work.

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The MATTER of Giving – Part 1

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 12, 2008

This post is the beginning of a detailed series of posts I’ll call, “CONSIDERATIONS ON GIVING“. I’ll break up into a few parts this first subject, the MATTER of Giving, then we’ll delve into the MEASURE and MOTIVE of the giving of a believer…and as always, your responses and comments are valued and appreciated.

Thanks for following along, and stay tuned!

 

There are many things that we ought to be giving back unto the Lord…for example:

 

TIME – Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [vs16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

God’s saying that He wants you and me to ‘redeem the time’, or to ‘rescue the time that He’s given to us from waste and evil’, so that it can be used for Him…think about this: God has given us time so that we may give God our time!

 

TALENTS (Abilities) – If God has blessed you with the ability and talent to play an instrument, sing, teach, write, manage finances, sew, weld, communicate with others, or WHATEVER talents and abilities God has blessed you with…YOU NEED TO USE THEM! 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “…whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Use your talents for God – Give them back to God!

This ought to be a ruling motive in the life of a believer!

 

TESTIMONYPsalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so”! I truly believe God can use a testimony that we’re willing to give when there’s an opportunity to witness and to minister to others…Let the redeemed of the LORD say so!

 

SO…In knowing all this, remember 1 Corinthians 4:2: “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”  The word Steward means Overseer; Manager. A Christian is an owner of nothing that he has, but he is a steward of everything he has!

 

Christians are [supposed to be] stewards of their time, talents, and of their testimony. We as believers don’t actually own anything, and we’re supposed to manage and give back what we have unto the Lord for His Glory. Well…wouldn’t this also apply to our TREASURE?

 

How we are as stewards of the treasure that God has entrusted to us is truly important and it demands our thoughtful and prayerful consideration. Each one of us as stewards ought to really be thinking and praying on how we oversee God’s treasure!

 

A friend of mine a while back sent me this article…the title of it is, “Five Habits of Millionaires”. This article found consistent patterns among millionaires, or those people who “have treasure”…I really think it’s interesting to take note of their patterns:

 

#1 – Avoid The “Earn-to-Spend” Mentality

Many millionaires view money as something to save and invest rather than income to spend. How spiritually wealthy would we be if we saved and invested in the work of God?

 

#2 – Focus

Millionaires resist the impulse to be scattered in their efforts and interests…they clearly write down their goals, making it easier to keep in focus. Basically, they have a plan. What’s your plan as a steward  of what God has given you?

 

#3 – Do Whatever Is Necessary to Meet Your Goal

People who earn their millions are able not only to focus but persevere in the pursuit of their goals. They press toward their mark. Paul said in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Are you pursuing with a passion to be a blessing with what God has blessed you with?

 

#4 – Take Calculated Risks

These folks had to take strategic risks to earn and grow money. They had to put some faith in what they were doing…not blind-faith, but a trust in certain methods and teachings. Are YOU ready to step out in faith with the finances God has given you? It’s not “blind-faith”, but a trust in the One whose blessed you and desires your obedience in the matter of giving.

 

#5 – Be Generous

 

Many millionaires give much and are truly generous. We may not know the motives of their generosity, but our motives ought to be the Love of the Lord Jesus Christ and HIS generosity – JESUS PAID IT ALL! 2 Corinthians 9:6, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully“. May we be generous!

 

In the world of “high finance”, we see by their habits that these people take great consideration in their treasure. So should we! We are the ones who are involved in “the finances of the Most High”, and we ought to really give our thoughtful and prayerful consideration when it comes to the giving of the treasure that God’s given to us as stewards!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Mercy

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 10, 2008

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy

The Lord Jesus Christ [Matthew 5:7]

I’ve been preaching recently to our church on the “Blessed Attitudes“, or the Beatitudes, given by the Lord Jesus Christ in His opening of His Sermon on the Mount. WOW…what a study! I whole-heartily recommend every believer getting into studying what these principles truly mean and what the Lord Jesus is saying here in the beginning of His sermon.

I’ve been around a lot of Independent Baptist people in my walk with Christ, and one thing I’ve noticed about us is generally we have a hard time with…happiness – expressing our happiness or even somehow thinking it must be wrong that we can be spiritual and happy at the same time.

Now I know that’s “my opinion“, but I believe we get so focused on “the letter of the Law” – i.e., Doctrine – and don’t get me wrong…doctrine is vital! We have this saying at our church: Our methods are doctrinal and our motive is the love of Christ. Doctrine is truly vitally important, but I find many of us don’t express a consistent joy or happiness in our doctrine. I don’t know if we’re afraid to show much happiness because we’d be labeled charismatic or maybe “fleshly“…I don’t know…maybe I’ve just been around all kinds of “stuck-in-the-muds” since I’ve been saved🙂 Help me out with this and let me know, but I’ve observed that many Independent Baptist people [I’ve been around] generally have a difficult time with being happy. [Again, please let me hear from you on this – is it the same with you, or do you observe true, Biblical happiness in our ranks or where you’re at?]

The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount is His longest and fullest discourse we have from Him in all four accounts of the Gospel. Jesus preaches His message to BELIEVERS. The Lord DOES NOT preach these Beatitudes with the idea, “Do these and you’ll earn Heaven and eternal life“…what He IS saying is, “As a saved child of God these principles WILL BE a mark in your life!” The Beatitudes are principles for Christians to live by, AND when followed, they’re meant to give us true, Biblical happiness!

Don’t believe me? What was the FIRST WORD out of the Lord’s mouth and repeated nine times in the opening of His message? BLESSED. The word blessed only means happiness of the highest kind! It would seem that the Lord Jesus cares that His followers would be happy. He’s concerned for your happiness. Christian, isn’t it “past-time” that you’d be joyful and happy in your walk with Christ? Study out and put into practice the “Blessed Attitudes” principles. They must be pretty important to have and apply – the Lord Jesus preached them!

How about this one – “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy“. Basically, the Lord is saying, “Ones who show mercy will have happiness of the highest kind, and they too will recieve mercy“. So, to have true, Biblical happiness, we must show mercy to others…okay…what does that mean?

WHAT IS MERCY

Before we can show it, we must know it. We must know what mercy means. When explaining the mercy of God, I like to say this in comparing Grace and Mercy:

Grace: God giving us what we DID NOT deserve / Mercy: God keeping from us what we DID deserve.

I think that’s a good definition of God’s mercy, but that’s not the definition we can use here in Matthew 5:7! Mercy here in verse 7 means COMPASSIONATE…but that’s not all it means…it goes further – this mercy means putting that compassion into action!

I think a great passage of Scripture to give us understanding on this mercy is James 2:15-16, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

 

Basically James is saying, “What good is concern and compassion if it’s not put into action”…MERCY! If you have concern and compassion for others but it produces no beneficial action, IT’S WORTHLESS!

 

HOW CAN WE SHOW MERCY

 

We know that mercy is an action born out of concern and compassion, so that means the action of mercy will be put on display…it WILL BE shown! HOW? Well how about:

 

I. UNBIASLY

 

This means without prejudice; without any pre-judgment or partiality. We as believers can become pretty bias and partial in how we treat all kinds of folks, can’t we? We have a real problem in that we ‘play favorites’! We don’t like our children to play favorites with other children and leave out other kids, and we don’t like it when it’s done to us and we’re left out…BUT FOR SOME REASON, we find ourselves many times playing favorites! Unfortunately, that’s not something new with believers – see James 2:1-9. When James writes against having “respect of persons” he exactly means God is against us “playing favorites“.

 

Do you “play favorites” with mercy? Is your compassion in action only determined for a few or for anyone who truly needs it? Why aren’t you happy in Christ…[Matt 5:7].

 

II. SACRIFICIALLY

 

Remember the story the Lord tells of the good Samaritan? [to refresh your memory – Luke 10:30-35] In this story did you notice that there was NO personal benefit for the good Samaritan? He was just a man who had acted out his compassion for someone else!

 

You may never be publicly recognized for showing mercy. You may never get a plaque honoring you or a picture taken of you in recognition of your mercy…but your recipient will be glad that you showed mercy! SACRIFICE!

 

III. PERSONALLY

 

True mercy comes from one whose been shown mercy and understands what it means to need mercy. CHRISTIAN – If anyone should know, YOU ought to know what it means to need mercy! Haven’t you experienced the mercy of Christ at Salvation? If you’re truly born-again, you have! So knowing God’s mercy as we do, we in turn ought to extend that mercy unto others! Nowhere does the Christian imitate God more or have a greater testimony than in showing mercy – please see Matt 25:35-40.

 

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”. MERCY is putting concern and compassion into action for the benefit of others – that’s what the Lord Jesus did on the cross!

 

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST’S MERCY TODAY?

DO YOU SHOW CHRIST’S MERCY TO OTHERS?

 

Are you truly happy in your walk with Christ – apply those “Blessed Attitudes”!!!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Like Father, Like Son

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 7, 2008

Just for a moment, consider the similarities between Isaac and his father, Abraham…

#1: In the midst of a famine, Isaac leaves the Promised Land to search for better pastures – Gen 26:1, “And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.”

–In this, he followed his father, Abraham: Gen 12:10, “And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.”

#2: Isaac goes to sojourn with Abimelech the king of the Philistines: again, Gen 26:1, “…And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.”

–In this, he again follows his father, Abraham: Gen 20:1-2, “And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. [vs2] And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.”

#3: In fear for his life, Isaac tells that Rebekah, his wife, is his sister: Gen 26:7, “And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.”

–And that’s just what his father, Abraham, did: Gen 20:2, “And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.”

Just a COINCIDENCE or COPIED responses…

Isn’t it interesting how children pick up things from and imitate their parents?

…You know what I’m talking about.

GOD HELP US TO BE RIGHT EXAMPLES AND INFLUENCES FOR OUR CHILDREN…and for others’ children!

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

 
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